Category: phillis wheatley

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Active Learning in the Literature Classroom

Over the past few semesters, I began my early American literature course with Thomas Jefferson. Starting with Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, Notes from the State of Virginia, and letter to Benjamin Banneker was important considering the recent events in Charlottesville, VA. Typically, I start the first class with David Walker then back track to Jefferson, but after reading Ibram X. Kendi’s “What would Jefferson … Read More Active Learning in the Literature Classroom

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Robert Hayden’s “A Letter From Phillis Wheatley, London 1773”

As I got ready to teach Phillis Wheatley recently, I decided to incorporate Robert Hayden’s “A Letter from Phillis Wheatley London, 1773” which originally appeared in his 1978 collection American Journal. Of course, during our discussions, we related Hayden’s poem to Wheatley, but we also thought about other connections that could be made between “A Letter from Phillis Wheatley” and other texts we have … Read More Robert Hayden’s “A Letter From Phillis Wheatley, London 1773”

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Why We Teach: Literature and the Presidential Election

In the Republic, Plato famously claims that there is a longstanding quarrel between philosophy and poetry, even stating that poets are nothing more than imitators and cannot relate truth to their audience, thus perverting them: “the tragic poet is an imitator, and therefore, like all other imitators, he is thrice removed from the king and from the truth.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, in Nature (1836), … Read More Why We Teach: Literature and the Presidential Election

Propaganda’s “Precious Puritans”and How We Teach the Puritans

Opening with discordant strings and followed by stomps and chains, Propaganda’s “Precious Puritans” challenges the teachings and thoughts of the Puritans, a group we typically teach every semester in our classrooms. When the song initially appeared in 2012, there were discussions online surrounding the song, specifically within a Christian context. (To see those see Thabiti Anyabwile’s post on the song. He has links to the … Read More Propaganda’s “Precious Puritans”and How We Teach the Puritans

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Early American Literature Survey Syllabus

Note: Here is the syllabus I am discussing. This semester, I’m teaching an Early American Literature survey course (through 1865). Typically, I have approached this course chronologically, having students read Native American creation stories, Christopher Columbus, William Bradford, and so on, in that order until we reached Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. However, this semester, I am trying something different. Instead of assigning students … Read More Early American Literature Survey Syllabus